20. I would like to hold a memorial service within a state park and release balloons/floating candles/candle-lit sky lanterns. Is that allowed?
Florida State Parks are the site for many important family gatherings, and we are honored that you consider us as a desired venue. Unfortunately, since there is no way to guarantee where balloons and fire-incorporating lanterns (either floating on water or those launched into the air) may wind up, they risk becoming litter that wildlife may be caught in or attempt to ingest.
Lanterns also run the risk of becoming a flammable hazard that may ignite an uncontrolled fire. We request that you look into other options to commemorate your loved one.
19. Are there any Florida state parks or state trails that permit the installation of a memorial bench, plaque or similar marker?
Permanent recognition markers such as signs/plaques, benches, monuments, etc., are prohibited in Florida state parks and trails unless such a program has been approved through the park’s unit management plan process. Alternative means of memorializing might include donating a needed item/piece of equipment, making a monetary donation to the state park or its citizen support organization (CSO), or participating in an organized tree-planting activity held by the park or a CSO. Additionally, the CSO that supports all Florida State Parks, the Florida State Parks Foundation, offers a "Plant A Pine" program.
18. Are guests permitted to scatter the cremation ashes of a friend/family member/pet within a Florida State Park or state trail?
Florida State Parks does not have a policy against the scattering of ashes, but it is restricted to locations where it will not impact the natural or cultural resources. We offer the following guidelines:
- There are no designated sites for the scattering of ashes, but the location you choose should be away from developed areas such as parking lots, trailheads, campgrounds, picnic areas, visitor centers, etc. Make sure you are at least 200 feet away from any water source (lake, spring, river, ocean, wetlands, etc.). Do not scatter ashes in areas where park visitors are restricted from going.
- Discretion should be exercised in spreading ashes; doing so is generally a very private moment, and care should be given not to disturb other park users. Mornings may be preferable times for your memorial, as afternoons may be more crowded and afford less privacy.
- Ashes should be scattered or spread about, not buried or placed in a pile.
- No markers, cairns, displays, signs or plaques may be placed over the ashes.
In certain state parks, such as Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park, there may be no locations that are feasible for a scattering of ashes, based on the guidelines given above. Please contact park management to verify your intended scattering site prior to visiting the park to see if the location has any additional restrictions or exclusions.
17. Are you allowed to smoke (cigarettes, cigars, pipes, vapes) in state parks?
In all Florida's state parks, we uphold the Florida Clean Indoor Air Act, which specifies that you may not smoke inside enclosed structures (such as restrooms, cabins, welcome centers, etc.) or in the doorways immediately adjacent to these structures.
When visitors are outdoors in Florida State Parks, they are permitted to smoke if they are of legal age to do so. We ask that cigarette butts and any other trash/waste material be completely extinguished and disposed of in proper trash containers.
The only exception to this rule is Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, which is recognized as a "congested area" because of its close layout and high rates of visitation. Smoking is not permitted in either the indoor or outdoor areas of this location.
14. What is the policy regarding firearms in Florida State Parks and Trails?
Florida State Parks honors Chapter 790, Florida Statutes, which states that if you have a license to carry a concealed weapon or firearm, you are permitted to carry the weapon concealed on your person while in a state park.
If you do not have a concealed weapons permit for your licensed firearm, you are permitted to “open carry” that firearm while engaged in “fishing, camping, or lawful hunting or going to or returning from a fishing, camping, or lawful hunting expedition” (Chapter 790.25, section 3, F.S.).
Chapter 62D-2.014(10), F.A.C., states under its “Hunting and Firearms” heading:
- Hunting, trapping or the pursuit of wildlife is prohibited on all state park property, except in reserves, as authorized by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. No person shall use in any state park weapons such as air rifles, spring guns, cross bows, bows and arrows, gigs (except in areas where gigs may be legally used for saltwater fishing), sling shots, electronic weapons, devices which fire a dart or projectile, or any other forms of weapons or trapping devices potentially dangerous to wildlife except when such weapons or traps are used for resource management purposes as authorized. Shooting weapons into park areas from beyond park boundaries is prohibited.
If you are not engaged in fishing/camping/lawful hunting and do not have a concealed weapons license for your firearm, please secure your firearm within your vehicle while in a state park. Savannas Preserve State Park is the only park exception to the rules described above. Chapter 258.157, F.S., states that “it is unlawful for any person, except a law enforcement or conservation officer, to have in his or her possession any firearm while within the Savannas.”
You may carry your weapon within a Florida state park (except for Savannas Preserve State Park) as described above, but you may not fire that weapon within a state park. The only exception to this is when an organized event such as a living history battle reenactment is taking place. Volunteers and staff that have been certified as competent to fire “blanks” from historical weaponry such as muskets, cannons, rifles, pistols, etc., may do so for scheduled demonstration purposes.
13. I use a power-driven mobility device (OPDMD) due to my mobility disability. Are there any restrictions on use of this within Florida State Parks?
Please see our Wheelchairs and Power-Driven Mobility Devices (OPDMD) policy for information on size, speed, weight and type restrictions for OPDMDs in Florida State Parks.
Please visit our Accessibility page to learn more about Florida State Parks’ commitment to accessibility.
12. Can I use my ATV/side-by-side/four-wheeler/UTV on trails or off-road areas within Florida's state parks?
Florida's state parks do not offer any trails or off-road areas for use by ATVs and similarly purposed vehicles, although we do offer trails designed for hiking on foot, mountain biking and horseback riding.
Utility vehicles that meet standards also applicable for golf carts may be driven on public access roads within Florida State Parks that have a speed of less than 30 mph.
11. Are golf carts permitted for use in Florida State Parks?
Golf carts and utility vehicles may be driven on public access roads within Florida State Parks that have a speed limit of less than 30 mph.
All golf cart/utility vehicle operators must:
- Have a valid driver’s license and follow all rules of the road (all applicable state laws and local ordinances).
- Have a vehicle equipped with working brakes, dependable steering, safe tires, a rearview mirror, and red reflective devices (tape) on the front and rear of the vehicle.
- Drive golf carts/utility vehicles only during daylight hours (between sunrise and sunset) unless the vehicle is also equipped with headlights, brake lights, turn signals and a windshield.
Golf carts/utility vehicles may not be driven on sidewalks, boardwalks, trails, off-road, or on service roads off-limits to park guests.
10. Where would I be permitted to ride my motorized/power-assist recreational scooter?
Motorized recreational scooters are not permitted for use on state trails. Within Florida State Parks, you may ride your e-scooter on paved public access roads but not on sidewalks, boardwalks or trails.
1.9. Can I ride my electric-assist bicycle (otherwise known as an e-bike) on Florida state trails and trails within Florida's state parks?
Electric-assist bicycles/e-bikes are defined in Florida Statute as bicycles. They are therefore permitted for use on Florida state trails and on trails designated as multi-use or specifically intended for bicycles within Florida's state parks.
If a trail is designated for pedestrians or equestrians only, you may not ride a bicycle or e-bike on that trail. There may be posted speed limits on any given trail.
Bicycles and e-bikes may also be used on paved public access roads within Florida's state parks.